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Old 03-20-2007, 12:46 PM   #1
Footprints's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 27

It has been some time since we last posted. However, it does not mean we have not been reading.....

Our first post (searching for a Heading) seemed so long ago. (less than 6 months) So many things have happened since then.

We have just purchased what we hope will be our home for a very long time, a Chincogan 40' out of the Gold Coast in Queensland.

It was not without a very large amount of stress, not because we bought it 5000kms away sight unseen, or that we had to sell

just about everything of worth to secure it, but due to the fact that at the 11th hour our main source of funding the purchase fell

through and left us up the creek without a boat. So with alot of phone calls, tin rattles and pledging free sailing holidays in the

Whitsundays, we fell, or more like tripped, over the line.

So now that we have our prize, we thought we should document it.....ahhh no log book.......

So does the ultimate log book exist.

Does anyone have any ideas or examples of what they find useful/useless. things that cannot be done without and things not to include.

Do we go digital or hand written (or do we design digital and print to paper)

Leaving Footprints.... Taking Memories

"Man cannot discover new oceans until he has the courage to loose sight of the shore"
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Home Port: Darwin
Vessel Name: Sandettie
Posts: 1,917

Congratulations on the purchase of your new boat. Nothing is quite so worth having as that which has to be fought for! I think the ideal log book is like the ideal dinghy in that the criteria are so varied throughout the cruising fraternity.

However, I think even if you choose to digitise your record, it is imperative that you also use pen and paper. The character which springs from much thumbed and dog-eared pages, replete with coffee cup rings, hand drawn sketches of coastlines; breakdown solutions written with a greasy hand which leave opaque fingermarks on the page, and the lack of fluidity of handwriting affected by no sleep, fright, or the epiphany to be found in your first Whitsunday sunset, can only truly be re-lived through hand written records.

It is for these same reasons that paper charts remain enchanted gates to our cruising past.

Roll on the southeast trades!

Best wishes


"if at first you don't succeed....Redefine success"!

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Old 03-20-2007, 02:52 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 9


Congratulations on your new boat.

After trying many "preformatted" commercially available Log Books, I now use an unformatted "Record Book" of the sort that an accountant might use. I like the sewn, library style binding and numbered pages with faint horizontal lines. (sample of style: http://www.buyonlinenow.com/viewprod...p?sku=RED56231 )

This essentially "free-form" log book lets me write what ever I wish without trying to stick to someone else's conception of what a logbook should look like. For example, many preformatted log books assume a "day" to be midnight to midnight, whereas on passage I like a day to be noon to noon. For coastal cruising and day sails I revert to a conventional "day".

The total lack of format encourages me to paste in photos, receipts, sketches, menus, etc. It essentially becomes a scrap book of our adventures. It frees me from any "one-page-per-day" handcuffs. After a four or five day passage I like to write a multi page summery of the passage ... this sort of thing just won't work with a preformatted book.

In the front of the book I'll write the year and at the top of each page I'll write the voyage destination ("... toward New England") and under it a subdivision of some sort ("St. Augustine to Sea", "At Sea", "From Sea to Beaufort, North Carolina", etc.) and each of these can take as many pages as required.

Beginning at the back of the book (and working toward the front) I make a table with a ruler and pencil to keep track of fuel purchases, engine hours, oil changes, filter changes, etc. This has saved us from running out of fuel more than once when the fuel gage float became stuck and indicated more fuel than we really had. I also include a page or two with important facts, like; correct filter numbers, spark plug number, serial numbers of certain pieces of equipment, exact length of the head stay, and whatever else might be important and essentially a non-changing, constant "fact".

Something I like to do, especially at night, is require the person on watch to write the latitude and longitude (by GPS) in the log book every half hour. A make a table for this. Presumably, if the person below deck wakes up to find the person on watch missing, they will probably (hopefully) be found somewhere between where the boat is now and the last noted position in the log book. We've never had to use this. Knock-on-wood.

The daily log entries work their way front to back and other info works it's way back to front. When they get close together, it's time to retire that book and start another. I have a nice collection of log books that are fun to look through ... a regular trip down memory lane.
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Old 03-21-2007, 07:08 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,619

Congrats on the new boat

I am of the school that believes that a log book should be just that and nothing else. My log book is simply an account of the events affecting the safe navigation of the vessel. I record such things as position, courses steered, sails set, weather and sea conditions as well as the names of those on board, bunkering etc.

I also keep a combined journal and visitors book which is a more personal record of people I have met along the way, great pubs and restaurants, etc. This is the personal account of my voyaging.

Different ships - different long splices. We each develop our own methods.



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Old 03-21-2007, 09:06 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 349

Congrats also on the new home. Wish you well on your trip.

Re log book - I'm with the others on a paper version. We keep the offical 'log' plus a hard bound lined book. All entries (positions / sightings etc) all initially get scribbled in the lined book, and get transferred over (without scribbles) intot he log later.

I've found an oft forgotton but IMHO vital part of any log book is space for a radio log. If you are fortunate enough to pick up a distress call and take part in any distress working, retaining an accurate record of whats receipted and sent is important.

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Old 03-21-2007, 04:55 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

We, too, keep a paper log book, a small "blue book" - exercise book in British countries, college exam books in the US. We record date, time (UTC), Lat Long, course, notes about course corrections, sometimes distance made good or distance to destination, ETA, and sometimes a comment about the weather. We maintain a plotted course on our paper charts, with date and time for position noted, and when a course correction is needed, that is noted in the log book. This is updated on a variable schedule. During the day when we are usually both awake, it might be updated every two hours. At night, with one person on watch, it's usually updated at least once per hour, and every half hour sometimes when we're bored.

We keep a separate Maintenance Log book specifically covering such things as fuel consumption (engine hours at last filling, # of gallons, number of hours since last filling and liters/ or gallons/hour consumed). Filter and oil changes are recorded along with the date and engine hours when done.

I keep notes of our passages by hand, sometimes, or on the computer. They become the source for our various letters to friends and family, web page entries, and blogs.

Only the Maintenance Log book has invariable categories preprinted because there are more of them than in our passage log book, maintenance is done when that is all one is addressing so there's plenty of time to get all of the information down. The passage log book in our estimation needs only date, time, Lat and Long to enable accurate navigation and so we keep it a bit loose and fill in more information as the conditions permit.

As you can see, so far we all have pretty much the same approach to keeping a log. Some people write more than others. peter writes the least, i write the most on our boats.

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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